Nigerian record-holder in the men’s 400m Hurdles Ezekiel Nathaniel opened his World Championships campaign on a good note on Day 2 of the competition, advancing to the semis as one of the automatic qualifiers.
The Baylor University freshman competed in Heat 1 where he raced alongside Doha 2019 Silver medallist Rai Benjamin. The American ran a smooth race to cross the line in 49.06s and seeing that he had already earned a qualification spot as they approached the home straight, Nathaniel shut down to finish 3rd in 49.64s as former continental champion Abdelmalik Lahoulou settled for 2nd in 49.58s.
Nathaniel is Nigeria’s first 400m hurdles athlete to qualify for the World Championships since Miles Ukaoma did so in Beijing in 2015. He broke Henry Amike’s 35-year-old record in the event back in April, racing to a new lifetime best of 48.42s. The Oregon Championships is his first outing for Nigeria at senior level.